NO2ID Newsletter (2nd Series) No. 9 – 6th June 2013

7 June 2013 — NO2ID
Edited by Daryl Worthington

The fight to protect our medical confidentiality is on. Under plans being put into place medical data including every patient’s NHS number, date of birth, postcode and ethnicity, together with details of medical conditions, diagnoses and treatments will be uploaded to the Health Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and other NHS systems. Once there it will be used to analyse health trends and demand for services, improve treatment and provide evidence upon which local clinical commissioning groups can base decisions about service provision.
However what concerns us is that the data will also be made available to outside parties such as researchers and for-profit companies. The HSCIC say that it will be ‘anonymised’ before release, but the concept of anonymisation is highly controversial and it is unlikely that guarantees can be given about the possible re-identification of the data.  An opt-in system is the only way to ensure fully informed consent from patients. In the absence of an opt-in system we urgently call on NHS England to inform patients how they can opt out of this new threat to medical privacy. 
Following protests from privacy groups, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced on 26th April that patients will have the right to instruct GPs to opt them out of the new NHS Database. Although a significant step, it is far from the ‘opt-in’ system campaigned for, as it assumes consent for the sharing of personal data. It is therefore crucial that patients are informed of their right to prevent the sharing of their private information.
++ What’s Happening?
+ medConfidential campaign launched to protect your health secrets
In January 2013 medConfidential was founded by several existing privacy organisations and individuals (Privacy International, Big Brother Watch, NO2ID, FIPR, The Big Opt Out, Terri Dowty (former Director of ARCH) and Phil Booth (former National Coordinator of NO2ID)) in direct response to the imminent and serious threat posed by radical changes in the way the NHS Commissioning Board collects and passes on patient health in England. (See above).
NO2ID will be working closely with medConfidential to protect medical privacy. We have produced a leaflet warning people about these changes and we have started to distribute to some of our active groups. If you would like some of these leaflets to distribute to your friends and family then please contact James Baker ( or on 07817 605 162)
For more information on these changes and how they affect you and your family, see medConfidentials briefing online
You can follow the campaign on twitter @medConfidential
NO2ID welcomes the news that the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has vetoed the snooper’s charter resulting in it being dropped from the Queen’s speech. The coalition government promised to “end the storage of internet and email records without good reason” and the Communications Data Bill was opposed from many members of parliament from all political parties.
Our work continues in this field as there is still a need to reform surveillance laws and create new protections for personal privacy. For instance over recent years countless abuses of privacy have occurred from the use of RIPA legislation that allows officials to snoop into your private emails, browsing habits and text messages without a court warrant.  HMRC alone made 41,351 snooping requests for details of phone calls and mobile texts between 2009 and 2011.
+ STOP PRESS: After the Woolwich murder calls for the Communications Data Bill have revived, though there’s no evidence at all that the atrocity might have been forestaled by the new powers.
+ Protecting yourself from the database state booklet launched
We have published a booklet ‘Your information and your rights: Protecting yourself from the database state’. A free copy will be sent out to all new members joining NO2ID. If you would like to join NO2ID please email our administrator at to request a membership application form.
+ Scotland – Beyond 2011 Consultations
National Records of Scotland has begun research into ‘investigating alternative ways of meeting information needs for population statistics’ as part of the UK wide Beyond 2011 Initiative. 
The General Record Office for Scotland has begun holding consultations to help develop ‘alternatives to the census’. The first of these entitled ‘Consultation on User Requirements’ can be responded to on their website (closing date 10th June 2013);
Further background on the Beyond 2011 initiative in Scotland can be found here; 
+ New Book: ‘Card declined’
A book on the history of ID cards in the UK, and the campaigns by civil liberties groups such as NO2ID to prevent them, has been published. The book, by SA Mathieson, is described on Mathieson’s website as 
‘This is the story of government ID cards in Britain from 1945 to 2011: a battle for British liberty that often descends into farce.’
+ Talk: Simon Phipps on the Snoopers Charter (and also Open Source)
Simon Phipps, Open Rights Group director and long time open source advocate will be giving a talk on June 12th at 7pm in the Town Hall Tavern, Manchester (just by the square behind the town hall).
All the details are on
+ Britain doesn’t need a Snooping Act, or another new terrorism committee  (Spectator , 26th May 2013) 
‘Crucially, we have seen nothing in the last few days to suggest we need a Snooping Act. And although power-hungry ministers never admit it, MI5 and MI6 already have full legal powers to intercept anything that can be described as a ‘communication’- from smoke signals to SMS. The Snooping Bill was more about granting espionage powers to the taxman and other nosy government agencies.’ 
ID card’ plan to snoop on Scots (Express 2nd June 2013) 
‘SCOTLAND is to introduce the free world’s most intrusive computer database of personal details, with every citizen being logged and monitored from “cradle to grave.’
‘Snooping tax inspectors have made 41,351 requests to see details about people’s private communications in the past three years, The Sun can reveal.
The huge haul of information includes facts about personal text messages, emails and phone calls.
Only Merseyside and the Metropolitan Police made more applications for private data about what people are telling each other.’
+ Nick Clegg: No ‘web snooping’ bill while Lib Dems in government (BBC News, 25th April) 
‘Home office plans to store details of Britons online activity will not happen while the Liberal Democrats are in government, Nick Clegg has said.
The deputy prime minister told his weekly LBC radio phone-in that ‘what people have dubbed the snooper’s charter’ was ‘not going to happen’.
There had been reports a redrafted bill, with concessions to win over Lib Dems, might be in the Queen’s speech.’
+ How HMRC treated its Goldman Sachs tax deal whistleblower as a criminal (Guardian 29th April)
‘Tax officials used intrusive investigative powers meant to catch serious criminals to try to prove that a whistleblower who uncovered a ‘sweetheart’ deal with Goldman Sachs had spoken to Guardian, it has emerged.
The belongings, emails, internet search records and phone calls of the HM Revenue and Customs solicitor Osita Mba and the phone records of his wife, Claudia, were examined by investigators, according to previously undisclosed documents.
The powers, which are supposed to be used to combat large scale criminal tax frauds, were used because the tax inspectors suspected that Mba had been in contact with the Guardian’s former investigations editor, David Leigh.
Leigh’s telephone numbers and email addresses were cross referenced with Mba’s, but investigators found no evidence of contact, documents show.
The disclosure has prompted serious questions about HMRC’s behaviour.’
++ International News
+ ‘Doctor ‘used Silicone fingers’ to sign in for colleagues’ (BBC News 12th March)
‘A Brazilian doctor faces charges of fraud after being caught on camera using silicone fingers to sign in for work for absent colleagues, police say.
Thaune Nunes Ferreira, 29, was arrested on Sunday for using prosthetic fingers to fool the biometric employee attendance device used at the hospital where she works near Sao Paulo.
She is accused of covering up the absence of six colleagues. 
Her lawyer says she was forced into the fraud as she faced losing her job.’ 
+ On Thursday 18th April BBC Radio 4 broadcast a programme called ‘Indian Identity’, which looks at the Aadhaar scheme to issue the entire population of the country with unique identity numbers and create a database of biometric and other identifying data.
The BBC description of the programme:
‘The government of India has embarked on a huge programme to give the whole population, 1.2 billion people, a unique identity number backed by fingerprint and eyeball scans. Peter Day asks whether the ID scheme will cut poverty as it is intended to, or, as critics allege, create a Big Brother State.
The programme can be listened to here;
+ Manchester
Manchester NO2ID Medical Privacy Street Stall, 
Manchester NO2ID are holding regular street stalls to inform members of the public about the new threat to our medical privacy. Please contact Gary Peart the Manchester NO2ID co-ordiantor at if you would like to come along and lend a hand.
+ Newcastle
NO2ID Co-ordinator for Newcastle Robin Tudge has written an article for the New Internationalist blog entitled ‘Surveillance: another battle is won – but the war goes on’.  The piece highlights the regular development of new threats to personal privacy and the continuing need for vigilance for privacy campaigners, even after moments of success. ‘Repeatedly, what the one hand gives, the other takes away. With every safeguard is a contradictory, overriding caveat. For sure, the Snooper’s Charter will rise from the dead in some other hideous form.’
The full article can be found online here:
+ Southampton
Congratulations to Ian Thomas, NO2ID Group Co-ordinator for Southampton, who was interviewed by the Southern Echo about the Draft Communications Data Bill. 
Ian told the paper
‘With the internet and mobile phone’s so much a part of everybody’s daily lives, what’s being proposed is in effect nothing less than the permanent, blanket surveillance of the entire population.’
The full article can be found here;
+ Cambridge
NO2ID Cambridge Co-ordinator Andrew Watson spoke to Heart FM about the use of RIPA by councils in the Cambridgeshire area. The interview was part of a piece by the radio station, which sent a Freedom of Information request to eleven local councils about their uses of RIPA laws.
The full article, along with the statistics on RIPA use by the councils, and a video of the interview with Andrew, can be found here.
For live news you can now follow @NO2ID on twitter.
Publication details: © NO2ID 2013  – This document may be freely redistributed in one-to-one communications or physical copies as long as it is reproduced in its entirety including this notice. It may not be mass-mailed without the prior permission of NO2ID.
NO2ID, Box 412, 19-21 Crawford Street, LONDON W1H 1PJ

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